Funeral Expense Assistance
We are taking action to reduce funeral poverty and help people manage funeral costs.
These are set out in our funeral costs plan which includes the launch of a new Funeral Expense Assistance benefit by summer 2019.
Replacing the UK Government's Funeral Payment, the new Funeral Expense Assistance benefit will provide critical financial support to people at a difficult time.
How we are improving funeral payments
A 2016 consultation on social security in Scotland highlighted that the current process and timescale for receiving the Funeral Payment is stressful for applicants. We aim to simplify and speed up the process, making it easier for people to understand if they are eligible.
When management of the Funeral Payment moves to Scotland, we aim to process applications within 10 working days of receipt of a completed application and make payments as soon as practicable thereafter.
In March 2016 we set up the Funeral Payment and Funeral Poverty Reference Group to support Scottish Ministers in developing policy for a new funeral payment.
Until August 2018 we ran a Funeral Expense Assistance Regulations consultation to gather views and identify any gaps, issues or unintended consequences
In November 2018 we published an independent analysis of consultation responses.
In February 2019 draft Funeral Expense Assistance (Scotland) Regulations were discussed in Cabinet Secretary's Social Security Committee meeting.
Tackling funeral poverty and helping people with funeral costs
As well as the Funeral Expense Assistance benefit we are taking a number of other actions to make more affordable funeral options available. These include:
- producing guidance to help people plan their own funeral
- strengthening consumer protection in relation to pre-paid funeral plans
- providing more options to help people save for their funeral by piloting a Scottish funeral bond